Why We Should Worry about Global Sea Ice Extent
Sea ice is one of the biggest indicators for climate change. A new study shows that we may be underestimating sea ice extent. The figures are alarming and show the stunning pace of change in one of Planet Earth’s largest systems. What can be challenging is figuring out how climate change is affecting the ice, and whether this effect is new or natural.
1. Effect Of Global Warming on Sea Ice
2. How Much Do You Know About Sea Ice?
3. Sea Ice Acts Like a Shield for The Earth’s Oceans
4. Sea Ice Also Affects a Region’s Ecology and Economy
5. If Ice Levels Are Low, Sea Levels Will Rise
6. Coral Reefs Will Be Affected
Effect of Global Warming on Sea Ice
Human activities are causing the global temperature to rise. This has a number of effects on our planet, including melting sea ice.
Sea ice extent is one of the most important indicators of climate change. The sea ice in the Arctic is at its lowest point since satellite records began in 1978.
Global warming may cause the sea ice to retreat significantly or even disappear from the Arctic. This could affect not only the weather in this region but also the world’s climate.
The reduction in sea ice will also change the ecosystem of polar bears and other animals that live on it.
Global warming also affects weather patterns and ocean currents – which can affect human activities such as fishing and shipping routes.
Sea ice plays an important role in reflecting sunlight back into space, providing cooling for our planet and protecting us from extreme weather conditions, like storms or heatwaves.
The record low sea ice extent adds to other signs that the Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet. The Arctic has warmed about twice as fast as the global average over the last 50 years. Global warming and sea ice extent:
- Ice is white and reflects heat
- We are losing thickness year after year
- North pole sea ice is at a new record low
- It’s one of the key indicators of climate change
How Much Do You Know about Sea Ice?
Many people do not think much about the sea ice. However, it is important to know that sea ice is the frozen water that covers areas of the ocean.
It is also known as pack ice or polar ice caps. The sea ice is important because it helps to control Earth’s temperature. It does this in two ways. The first way is by reflecting sunlight into space.
Sea ice absorbs heat from the sun, which in turn keeps it from being absorbed by the water beneath it. Second, the surface of the sea ice freezes and thaws each year, adding fresh water to the oceans.
This changes their density and affects ocean circulation patterns that help regulate Planet Earth’s temperature. All of this can be harmed by global warming.
As the temperature of Earth rises due to global warming, more moisture from the oceans evaporates into the air and falls as rain or snow over land areas.
What Do You Think the Polar Bear's Future Will Be?
While not all animals rely on sea ice to survive, it is an important feature to the polar bear’s way of life. Sea ice is the platform that they use to hunt, live, and breed. Climate change will likely compromise that platform from underneath pushing polar bears closer and closer to extinction.
If enough snow falls on land areas that are already above freezing, then there will be no place for all this extra moisture to go but back into the ocean in the form of increased precipitation and runoff into rivers and streams that flow into the oceans.
This increased precipitation will cause more global warming because it will add more heat to Earth’s atmosphere.
Different species have different levels of vulnerability to the changes in temperature that occur when there is less sea ice.
Polar bears are one example; they rely on sea ice for hunting and breeding. The loss of sea ice leaves them with less food, with no place to breed, and with greater competition from other species for what food is left.
Some polar bears have already starved to death due to a lack of sea ice, while others have resorted to preying on humans to survive.
Sea Ice Acts like a Shield for the Earth’s Oceans
Scientists have been monitoring sea ice since the 1970s, and we’re now noticing some big changes in this climate indicator. As a result, researchers are preparing for atmospheric changes that will affect all of us.
This trend is due to global warming, but it’s more complicated than you might think. The earth’s oceans and atmosphere are interconnected. Changes in one can cause changes in the other.
Right now, there is less sea ice than ever before because of both natural variability and global warming—but how much each contributes is still being researched and debated.
For example, as ocean temperatures rise, so do air temperatures—they feed off each other. And when there is less sea ice around to reflect heat back into space, more heat stays in the atmosphere. This then causes air temperatures to rise even further.
The result is an upward cycle of warming temperatures that scientists refer to as Arctic amplification. Or could it be that the Arctic Ocean itself is changing?
Recent data shows a decrease in salinity levels (which makes water less salty), which can also leave it warmer than before—and again, this cycle feeds into increasing air temperatures as well.
As we continue to warm the planet, we will see a substantial amount of sea ice melt. It is a well-known fact that the Arctic Sea ice is melting.
However, what is not well known is that this melting will have serious consequences for the rest of the world. The Arctic covers nearly 5 million square miles, and when it melts, it exposes an enormous amount of water to the sun’s rays.
This can cause global warming to accelerate, decreasing polar ice and potentially raising global temperatures.
- The planet is warming more than we think
- Warming of the Earth is accelerating and won’t be stoppable
- If this persists, ice will start melting and sea levels will rise
- Increasing temperatures will lead to significant changes in sea ice
Sea Ice Also Affects a Region’s Ecology and Economy
At a time when the Arctic is warming at an unprecedented rate, sea ice is also at its lowest extent and volume in recorded history. This is significant as the ice has long been considered as one of the most important ecological indicators of climate change.
The disappearing sea ice covers less area of ocean and thus exposes more water to the atmosphere. The open ocean absorbs more solar energy, which contributes to further warming of the region.
The consequences are more than just environmental – they are societal, economic, and cultural.
Sea ice impacts on the lives of people who live along its shores because it influences their well-being. This includes traditional activities such as hunting or gathering marine animals and plants, food security and well-being.
How Could This Effect Your Life?
Climate change is affecting us all in a multitude of ways, and what’s happening with global climate is just one of them. With proper precautions and conservation efforts, we can hope to preserve the way of life that has existed for thousands of years.
The extent of sea ice in winter defines how much sunlight reaches the surface waters. These are rich in phytoplankton and zooplankton that support a diverse polar food web from small fish to bowhead whales.
The melting sea ice may alter the availability of these resources for indigenous communities in Alaska and Canada who hunt the waters for food or commercial purposes.
The question of how humans are causing Arctic change is complex and often misunderstood.
It is not just about the loss of sea ice. But also, about the combined warming that has reduced ice and snow, disrupted sea currents and increased evaporation from open water. The changes can be profound.
If Ice Levels Are Low, Sea Levels Will Rise
A primary reason sea levels are rising is the melting of polar ice caps. Ice, in its solid form, is called ice because it has a high level of density.
Ice is already melting at a faster rate than ever before in recorded history. The ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are expected to continue melting, which will raise sea levels by as much as three feet by the year 2100.
This is a threat to many coastal regions that are home to millions of people. Sea levels have naturally risen and fallen with the seasons for thousands of years.
The current retreat of Arctic Sea ice has become a symbol of global warming and its consequences. The loss of ice is happening much faster than even the direst predictions. And it has become the subject of intense research by scientists trying to understand what’s happening, and why.
The Arctic is warming more quickly than other regions, in large part because it’s so cold there that even a small increase in temperature can have big effects.
And while that extra heat also increases evaporation from the ocean, which leads to more precipitation, some of that water falls as snow instead of rain, leading to increased accumulation of ice on land.
But there are other reasons as well: One relatively little-known phenomenon could be an important contributor to the sea level rise seen in recent years.
This phenomenon is known as “ice cliff instability,” and it involves large icebergs breaking off from glaciers into the ocean.
When an iceberg calves — or breaks off — from a glacier or ice shelf, some of its volume remains behind as floating ice. Ice levels get lower and lower, causing the oceans to rise and rise.
This will eventually cause ocean water to encroach on landmasses. With this being said, we need to realise that climate change is a reality we cannot ignore.
Coral Reefs Will Be Affected
Coral reefs, also known as the rainforests of the sea, are an important part of marine ecosystems. They provide a home for millions of species and support human livelihoods, especially in tropical countries.
But these natural wonders are under threat. There is a growing risk that they will be degraded by climate change and ocean acidification.
A research team has now discovered that less ice cover could also mean a change in salinity in the oceans as well as an increase in ocean temperatures.
The researchers from Potsdam, San Diego and Wellington found that less ice cover could mean a change in salinity in the oceans as well as an increase in ocean temperatures. These changes could also have a negative effect on coral reefs.
Climate change has been proven to be a major threat to coral reefs. Coral reefs are sensitive to temperature changes, and global warming is already causing changes in sea temperatures.
The ocean absorbs much of the heat that is produced by greenhouse gases. As the ocean heats up, the corals become stressed.
Coral reefs are not dead structures, but live ecosystems. They have a huge number of organisms that help to form the foundation for the coral reefs.
A change in salinity or temperature could be devastating to coral and the different organisms living within them.
Ice plays a crucial role in retaining sea water salinity and keeping ocean temperatures at a constant stable level. So, if we see a change in our natural ice caps, I don’t think we should be too surprised with what happens next.
Increasing air and ocean temperatures are reducing sea ice extent. The vast area of ice loss coincides with an increase in both temperatures.